She will always remain fabulous! This is one of her excellent recordings.
The rival to HEART LIKE A WHEEL.
Matt Coker | Davis, CA, USA | 04/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SIMPLE DREAMS, released in 1977, displayed how far Linda Ronstadt's music had evolved since she recorded "Different Drum" (my favorite song) with the Stone Poneys ten years earlier. SIMPLE DREAMS is the most consistent and satisfying of any Linda Ronstadt collection, equal to HEART LIKE A WHEEL. Linda Ronstadt had a more Rock oriented backing band, and they album has great rockers and even better ballads. The opening track "It's So Easy", is radiant; the best version of the song I've heard. Linda's marvelous on Warren Zevon's "Carmelita", probably my favorite on the album. "Simple Man, Simple Dreams" is equally brilliant. The best way to listen to the poignant ballad "Sorrow Lives Here" would be a dark room with candles. You can hear the ache and sorrow in her voice. The saddness of "Sorrow Lives Here" isn't dispelled by the gorgeous traditional "I Never Will Marry". The scene set is soft and gentle, but demonstrates the remarkable control Linda has over her voice. Another winner is her giant selling single, the superb version of "Blue Bayou". It's breath-taking. Few things in this world are meant to rock as hard as Warren Zevon's "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", and few things do. Linda's voice is just as superior as it is on the ballads, but the tone is different, she rings with agression. The gentle touching "Maybe I'm Right" is throughly wonderful. Linda proves she can rock as hard as the Rolling Stones by covering their "Tumbling Dice", brilliantly I might add. I'm not overly fond of the closing "Old Paint", but that's just me, it's a great Old West song ballad, keeping Linda's Country/Folk roots close to her. SIMPLE DREAMS sold 3&1/2 million copies in less than a years time. Whether you're looking for excellent rockers: "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" OR "Tumbling Dice", affecting ballads: "Blue Bayou", "Sorrow Lives Here" or "Carmelita", or Country/Folk: "I Never Will Marry"; SIMPLE DREAMS has everything. That's why it's one of Linda Ronstadt's best, and one of Rock/Pop music's great classics."
Linda and her boys capture the landscape of Southern Califor
John Jenks | West Hollywood, CA | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simple Dreams to this day remains my Linda Ronstadt desert island disc if, Heaven forbid, I could only choose one. Let others genuflect on Heart Like a Wheel or those three ridiculous, effete Nelson Riddle albums. Ronstadt was always a more convincing interpreter of Eric Kaz than Gershwin or Ellington, which is nowhere more evident than on Sorrow Lives where -- acccompanied by only the late Don Grolnick's piano, mind you -- brave soul Ronstadt takes us on more harrowing curves and hairpin turns than a drunken Diana Ross driving down Topanga Canyon on her way to return some videos to Blockbuster. Indeed, Simple Dreams marked the last time Ronstadt was ever willing to get this down and this dirty, before she sent her chops off for vocal training in preparation for Gilbert & Sullivan. Before she became an artiste. Before she began over-enunciating her t's. Disco be damned, the album spawned four hits that were everywhere during the time, with Blue Bayou enduring to become her own New York, New York. Never mattered much to me that Ronstadt didn't seem to know what she was singing about on Warren Zevon's Poor Poor Pitiful Me or the Stones' Tumbling Dice; Linda was just keeping up with her boys. And there are lots of them, including Eagle Don Henley, Stone Poney crony Kenny Edwards, and the always welcome J.D. Souther. (I can see why she would do him.) Even Andrew Gold, who'd left her stable and was riding the charts in his own right with Lonely Boy, returned to mama in a cameo billed under the alias Larry Hagler. Only Dolly Parton's shimmering guest vocal on I Never Will Marry keeps Simple Dreams from being an all-male affair. Ronstadt would evolve as an artist over the next three decades and build an enviable catalogue that would have seemed unimagineable in 1977, but she would never again make an album as cohesive as Simple Dreams. (Although Cry Like A Rainstorm... comes close, except for those over-enunciated t's - "something's noT quiTe righT..." ) It's a shame to hear her disparage her 70's period as being not very musically interesting for a singer, dissing her hit records as (to paraphrase her) kinda sucking. If that's true, then Simple Dreams sucks. But in a GOOD way. In fact, ALL records should suck like this.
SERVING SUGGESTION: The Main Refrain by Wendy Waldman"
Following a Formula that Works...But for How Long?
S. Sittig | Washington, D.C. | 11/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With this follow up to 1976's HASTEN DOWN THE WIND, and 1975's PRISONER IN DISGUISE, Ronstadt sticks to the formula that made the two precursors so successful. It's mostly rock-country-pop, with a Buddy Holly cover (this time it's "It's So Easy")and a Dolly Parton cover (this time it's "I Never Will Marry")mixed in for good measure. This time she throws in a Rolling Stones' cover too. ("Tumbling Dice"). Ronstadt keeps this songwriting potpourri tied together with her exacting vocal skills and her ear for good production. And as always, she tries her hand at a new songwriter (Warren Zevon) and creates lovely work with "Carmelita" and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me".But with all this musical melange, the vocal/emotional highlight is still her stunning take on Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou", which has by now become a standard of 70s interpretations. Once again, she seems to really be able to let loose when she tackles something simple, rather than some of her other clever choices.Nevertheless, as successful as this formula has been for Ronstadt and as wonderfully as she pulls it all together on this offering, the listener can't help but feel that some of the bloom is off the rose.It's apparent from repeated listens to this album that Ronstadt is growing increasingly restless and in need of a vocal and stylistic challenge. By the time we get to the next album, 1978's LIVING IN THE USA, the formula has grown thin and given all it can, and it starts to show slightly here.Still, this album would be her last great one of the decade and perhaps her most successful until 12 years later when she released her semi-comeback, 1989's CRY LIKE A RAINSTORM, HOWL LIKE THE WIND."
So rich with emotion it's positively embarrassing
jon sieruga | Redlands, CA USA | 03/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Linda Ronstadt outdoes even her masterpiece "Heart Like A Wheel" with this alternately tough and tender rock effort graced with the frosting of beautiful photos of la Ronstadt at her most smoldering. Her versions of Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy", Stones' "Tumbling Dice" and Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou" didn't get much respect at the time from critics, but all these years later sound darn fine. My favorites though are Dolly Parton's sweet lament "I Never Will Marry", the incredibly tender "Maybe I'm Right", and the lonesome "Old Paint". Truly a stunning collection. A bit schizophrenic, but with a super-smooth production that helps the listener ease from one heartbreak to the next."